By David St. John

After Baudelaire

Quiet now, sorrow; relax. Calm down, fear …
You wanted the night? It’s falling, here,
Like a black glove onto the city,
Giving a few some peace … but not me.

I think, well, almost everyone I know
Loves to be whipped by pleasure—right, Killer?—
As they stroll the boardwalk, parading their despair.
So why don’t you come too? But instead, with me,

Away from all these tattered ghosts leaning off
The sky’s balcony like last year’s lovers;
We’ll watch everything we regret step from the sea

Dripping … while the dead sun drags its arc
Towards China. Shroud of my heart, listen. Listen—
How softly the night steps toward us.

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